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The Whole World--Including Food And Beverage--Going Mobile App

LOS ANGELES, March 26, 2014 () – The whole world’s going mobile app. There’s no denying it. Forget looking up something online via a laptop. These days, everything is done via your smartphone. Want to look up movie times? One-click your Fandango app. Single and interested in online dating? Don’t waste your time looking into Match or eHarmony through your laptop. That’s sooooo 2012.

More and more, the food and beverage industry is getting into the mobile app phenomenon. Last week, both the second- and third-largest U.S. burger chains—Wendy’s and Burger King—announced that they would roll out a mobile payment app for use at its U.S. locations. This followed an announcement earlier this month that Starbucks would revamp its mobile payment app by adding digital tipping, a new interface and a shake-to-pay feature.

Payments via mobile phones are becoming more commonplace at U.S. retail outlets as the technology improves amid mounting concerns over the security of traditional card payments while mobile wallets are now able to store card information on phones in encrypted form. That’s why, according to a report by PaymentsSource, 14% of Starbucks’ in-store customers now pay using the company’s mobile app, up from 10% last summer. And it’s why mobile-payment users in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Spain spend roughly twice as much through all digital channels than mobile payment non-users, according to a recent study by Bain & Co.

Even McDonald’s, which is known in the industry for its meticulous planning of any changes and is only in the testing phase of its own mobile app, acknowledged at a recent investor conference that it would have to jump on this trend soon—even with an app that may not be 100% perfect—because waiting would mean missing the opportunity entirely.

The food and beverage industry is going mobile app. If you’re not on the train, time to hop on.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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